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Two Tracks Featuring Catherine Webster Released (Audio)

Catherine Webster, soprano

Catherine Webster, soprano

The coming season marks the 10th anniversary of Catherine Webster’s first appearances with Magnificat. Her debut in our performances of the music of Chiara Margarita Cozzolani in December 1999 was especially memorable and she has been a fixture in Magnificat productions ever since. In October she will sing the role of Alcina in Francesca Caccini’s La Liberazione di Ruggiero. The Alcina role features the extraordinary “complaint”, in which the evil but alluring sorceress, upon the news that Ruggiero has forsaken her to return to Bradamante and to his soldierly duties, attempts to change his mind first through pleading, then seduction, and finally fury. Caccini masterfully captures this emotional range with an exhilirating panoply of expressive musical devices. We are all looking forward to hearing Catherine sing one of the first great sorprano roles in the history of opera.

Magnificat/Si dolce è'l tormentoMagnificat has released two tracks from live performances that feature Catherine. The first is Monteverdi’s solo soprano setting of Carlo Milanuzzi’s Si dolce e’l tormento, which conveys a range of emotion that belies its simple strophic form. This exquisite madrigal was not originally in the plans for Magnificat’s November 2004 program “A Due Voci Pari”, but during the rehearsals for those concerts, David Tayler suggested that we add it. After one run-through in the dress rehearsal it was clear that this was destined to become one of the most unforgettable Magnificat performances ever. The live recording is from the performance at St. Gregory Nyssen in San Francisco, November 14, 2004.

Download Si dolce è’l tormento

Isabella Leonarda Lætatus sumThe second track we are releasing is Isabella Leonarda’s setting of the psalm Lætatus sum for solo soprano, violins and continuo, drawn from the composer’s last collection of liturgical texts, the Salmi Concertati a 4 voci con strumenti, op. 19, published in Bologna in 1698. These works represent her most modern works, stylistically and harmonically, and the collection appears as a counterpart to her setting of the mass ordinary for the same vocal and instrumental forces published two years earlier. This live and unedited recording is from a Magnificat performance at St. Gregory Nyssen in San Francisco on February 2, 2003. Rob Diggins and Jolianne von Einem play violin, John Dornenburg, violone, David Tayler, theorbo, and Hanneke van Proosdij, organ.

Download Isabella Leonarda’s Lætatus sum

These and other Magnificat recordings can also be heard at last.fm and InstantEncore.com.

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